Chapter 16

Ham Radio Jargon — Say What?

Like any hobby, ham radio involves a fair amount of jargon. To a newcomer (or an experienced ham starting a new activity) the jargon can make it harder to get going and make contacts. This chapter helps explain some of the more common terms.

Spoken Q-signals

In theory, these abbreviations are just supposed to be used in Morse operation. In practice, however, hams use spoken versions on voice which can be confusing. The meanings are often a little different than the formal definition, as well. (A full list of common Q-signals can be found in Chapter 8.)

  • Kyew-are-emm (QRM): Any kind of interference. Local QRM refers to audio noise bothering the speaker: “I’m getting some local QRM from the TV.”
  • Kyew-are-eks (QRX): A request to stop talking, “Can you QRX for a minute?”
  • Kyew-are-zed (QRZ): What was that call sign? “Zed” is a phonetic for Z as well as its British pronunciation.
  • Kyew-so (QSO): “In contact with,” as in “I’m in QSO with NØAX right now.”
  • Kyew-ess-ell (QSL): Often means “I agree!”
  • Q-Street: QST magazine, “I read that in Q-street.”

Contesting or Radiosport

In the fast-paced world of a contest, knowing the terms helps you get up to speed and feel at home handing out contacts. A full contest glossary is available from Contest University (CTU) at contestuniversity.com/attachments/Contesting_Terminology.pdf. CTU is a full day of training and lectures held at the Dayton Hamvention every year.

  • Exchange: Information exchanged during ...

Get Ham Radio For Dummies, 3rd Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.